Skip to main content Skip to site footer
Interviews

Hill previews Mansfield game and reflects on Lincolnshire Senior Cup success against Gainsborough

7 April 2022

First team manager Keith Hill has previewed his team's home encounter against automatic promotion-chasing Mansfield Town on Saturday.

The closest side to the Iron geographically in League Two this term, the Stags are set to be supported by a near sell-out away following as they seek an important three points that could boost their bid for a top three finish.

After an encouraging performance against runaway leaders Forest Green Rovers last weekend was backed up by the Lincolnshire Senior Cup final success against Gainsborough Trinity in midweek, Hill says his young side will thrive on the challenge against the division's sixth-placed side.

He told iFollow Iron: "It's a great challenge and a good opportunity for the players to back up a performance against Forest Green, and one during the week when we were superb for 70 minutes.

"It gives us the chance to test ourselves against one of the best teams in the league and we should be going into it with confidence and good, young, intelligent energy. We will make mistakes but it's important we recover and react positively to those mistakes. Let's give it a real good go.

"Football creates opportunities. You don't always take them when they present themselves and it is difficult for the young players. I do believe there's a future with these young players and they've got to learn from these experiences, and so have the older players as well.

"They have to take what they can from the remaining six games, get as many points as we can, try to encourage positive performances and behaviour so that we get future success.

"I want us to build on good performances individually and build on the nucleus of the young players as we carry the club forward, but I want to see positive reactions on the pitch to what is a competitive 90 minutes, irrespective of who it's against. We have to be competitive to be able to change performances into wins.

"Mansfield is as hard as it comes, but I'm sure them selling the away end out will encourage our magnificent support and I'm encouraged about us getting a good performance and equally trying to squeeze out a good result."

Talking further about the midweek cup success, which gave a number of the club's young players a taste of trophy success, he continued: "That's a throw-away comment, 'it was only against Gainsborough'. We had to be professional. I played a young side which I'm trying to integrate into a philosophy and belief of what we can achieve in and out of possession, and the intensity of the way we want to play.

"For those players who have felt the pain of playing in the first team and losing football matches, and not being able to show the football world how good they are, to be able to do that on Tuesday, to keep the ball, pass the ball and to be able to make what I want them to do work was brilliant, and shows the players they can do it.

"Now it's about getting the levels and perspectives right. They did it on Tuesday and now the next phase of the football magic trick is to integrate the likes of Harvey Cribb into not just playing League Two football, but thriving, developing and then starting to dominate the opponents. That can only come after a period of time and won't happen instantaneously.

"You could arguably put Harvey Cribb into Forest Green's side for example and he would get his 50-60 passes, but we're trying to do it with a group mentality and make the most of this opportunity.

"I felt they were excellent for 70 minutes on Tuesday and the only threat the opposition had was from set-plays, as there was a physical supremacy in respect to what they had and what we didn't have, but we dominated, kept the ball and attacked really well. I was really pleased for the young players.

"Being in this position, you get a lot of stick, whether it's from social media, opposing fans, family or friends. Sometimes it can wear you down a little bit, so to taste those little bits of success, which have been very hard to come by can really help.

"For Dan Gallimore for example, to lift a trophy and receive a medal, you can't downplay that effect.

"We're trying to build a successful platform to be able to thrive in, and there has been evidence of that on Tuesday and last Saturday. We're trying to give a good young group the direct, right and moral footballing principles to be successful individually and collectively for the club.

"I have no doubts about them because of their attitude. It reflects leadership, and theirs reflects what I want them to do. I want them to be strong, brave and relish the opportunity. Sometimes with these chances the players get, their biggest learning curve will be losing a game and how they react to it, but never get used to it. Always make sure you've got the desire and determination to be a winner, because that's ultimately what we're trying to turn our football club into."

Speaking about team selection for the weekend, Hill concluded: "Anthony Grant is back available (after suspension), while Tyrese Sinclair is unavailable because he can't play his parent club Mansfield. He's adapted really well to the position he's played. We're working with him to make sure he makes real positive impacts in the final third. He did a great job defensively against Nick Cadden last week, so it's important he learns as well while he's not playing this weekend."

See much more from Keith Hill and Hayden Hackney on iFollow Iron.


Advertisement block